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Archive: Other Books > The Last Painting of Sara De Vos - Smith - 5 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (last edited Jul 21, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Jgrace | 3058 comments The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos - Dominic Smith
Audio performance by Edoardo Ballerini
5 stars

The book begins in 1957 with a clever art theft from a posh private home on New York City’s Upper East Side. An unusual 17th century Dutch landscape is removed and replaced by a ‘meticulous fake’. This story is not suspenseful crime fiction. It’s about three principal characters; the original artist, Sara de Vos; the wealthy 20th century owner of the painting, Marty de Groot; and the forger, Eleanor Shipley. It’s also a detailed study of art, its material and esthetic value.

The book has three timelines and three locations. Sara de Vos is a vivid character in a richly detailed historical period. Without long winded explanations, Smith builds a clear picture of Sara’s life within the constraints of her time; the power of artists’ guilds, the restrictions placed on women in art and marriage, the dangers of disease. The 20th century characters are just as clearly defined in their settings. Marty de Groot is surrounded firmly by his wealth and his boredom with his superficial life. Eleanor Shipley is a talented mid-century graduate student, wallowing in her anger at a male chauvinist art establishment. They are an interesting trio.

The book is not really about the crime. It’s about the lives of these three individuals and how they interact with similar issues. All three of these characters cheat or lie to others at some significant point in their lives. All of them are victims of deception. All of them are grieving and dealing with the consequences of loss.The creation, acquisition, and appreciation of art runs through each story.

This is the book I was looking for when I read Shapiro’s disappointing The Art Forger. I would not recommend it to someone who was looking for a thriller like The Da Vinci Code. However, I think that if you liked The Painter, you would like this book as well. In fact, Heller’s book and Sara De Vos would be great companion books for a group discussion.

message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6663 comments Jgrace wrote: "The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos - Dominic Smith
Audio performance by Edoardo Ballerini
5 stars."

Sounds really interesting. I think I might enjoy this and it has been on my radar.

message 3: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments I'm awaiting it on my Overdrive list. I'm #4 on the list as of now.

message 4: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments We are reading this next month on my face to face book club. I'm glad you liked it so much. I'm looking forward to it.

message 5: by Red52 (new)

Red52 It's the best thing I've read this year.

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